To Succeed in Transformation, Stop Funding Projects! #OIC2016

Here’s a generic (far-fetched, but relevant) scenario:

  • CEO: “I want predictive analytics.”
  • CIO: “Ok, I hear you.”

The CIO shares the request with his team.

  • CIO’s team to CIO: “In order to provide predictive analytics, we need to upgrade our ERP system.”
  • CIO to his team: “Ok, we’ll upgrade the ERP.”

A dialogue goes on about funding between the CxOs.

  • CEO: “Here’s $5 million to put towards your project.”
  • CIO: “Thanks. I’ll meet with my staff about getting this project done.”

In this scenario, the conversation quickly shifted from a high-level need for predictive analytics to an implementation choice of upgrading the ERP. Someone, somewhere, will get a chunk of the funding to implement various systems, technologies, or practices – including that ERP system. Unfortunately, this has become a glorified game of telephone, where no one is paying attention to the original goal of providing predictive analytics for the executives. Here’s the problem: the disconnect has already happened. The IT team works hard to achieve the goal of the project – upgrade the ERP. Months later, they host a small party to celebrate a successful upgrade to their ERP. Of course, steps or tactics are required to deliver business outcomes. In this case, the company needs to upgrade their ERP to deliver predictive analytics. Unfortunately, as happens at many organizations, the focus shifted from the business capability onto the tactic, and through no fault of their own, the team lost sight of the original goal.

Let’s consider this scenario with agility added to the mix of project execution. Early and often, choices are made where the project’s path can be altered irreparably. In our example, the conversation veered off-course when the main objective shifted to become the safe delivery of the ERP upgrade. If your target was set based on a technological choice intended to achieve an outcome, and not the specific outcome itself, then you risk making decisions and taking actions that don’t contribute to achieving the original goal. At each step, remember to ask yourself, “Are we on the right track to deliver the business outcome the executives expect? Did something change?” Even further, are these questions being asked in the context of supporting a capability or are they in the context of deploying a project? Context matters because the answers will drastically differ depending on the actual goal.

Working sessions and meetings could result in pivot points that might change the course of the project. If you start the project with smaller pieces (milestones) in mind that are defined in the context of the capability evolution (business outcome), then the pivots are made to stay in alignment with executive expectations. If you are measuring success based on the achievement of the capability evolution then you won’t lose sight of the project’s original intention. You’ve changed your mode of thinking. The project still exists, but it will be funded through capability evolution. When procuring technology to support the evolution of the business capability, you’re buying/enabling abilities with a business outcome-driven mindset, not just technology for the sake of technology.

Gartner1 states that “by 2017, 60% of Global 1000 organizations will execute on at least one revolutionary and currently unimaginable business transformation effort.” The ability to track strategy as it relates to concerns, business drivers, influencers, and issues is directly related to projects making or missing their mark. A capability-based approach to project execution is your answer to tracking strategy. According to Gartner, “almost 90% of transformation projects miss their mark.” Organizations that fund business capability evolution will close the gap between strategy and failed implementation. It’s important to detach your thoughts from legacy constraints because, when you’re tied to implementation, your scope can become very narrow. Looking at questions or concerns from a capability perspective is an abstraction of thought. Don’t focus on “how” you do it. Focus on “what” it is that you’re doing.

The Enterprisers Project states that “when faced with a business challenge, business leaders often have a good idea where they need to go and how they must evolve. But there is often a mismatch in how prepared they perceive their organization to be, and the cold, hard reality within their walls.” Let’s take a step back and look at the initial conversation about the request for project funding. When trying to get funding, stop talking about projects or technologies or roadmaps or backlogs. Instead, focus the conversation on capabilities. If you talk about, and lead with, capabilities, then to some degree, technology ends up being what enables everything. You’re bound to get much farther in the conversation and become the bridge between reality and perception.

Business leaders seek to manage complexity and create visibility into and traceability of their business and IT landscape, but what does that really mean to the funding and evolution of business capabilities? Keeping a focus on capabilities that are delivered is critical to success.

EU Commission Gives a Push to Electric Mobility and Smart Mobility Services #SmartCities

On January 28th, EU Commissioner for Transport Violeta Bulc opened the 2016 Transport for Smart Cities conference, which gathered 200 leading players part of a European Innovation Partnership (EIP) whose objective is to improve urban life through sustainable integrated solutions.

smart cities pic

Commissioner Bulc attended the launch of two new initiatives bringing together cities and industry to promote the roll-out of smart electromobility and of smart city mobility services at a large scale. Areas of application include the intelligent management of fleets of electric cars and real-time travel information.

Commissioner Bulc said: “It is not ‘us’ and ‘them’ anymore – we need to work together and drive this challenge to a good destination. These initiatives will lead to smart mobility solutions to the market at scale. They will support innovation to create new jobs and fully integrate transport in the digital single market. If the fight against climate change is to be won in cities, I am convinced that Smart Cities are part of the answer”.

The End Game for Collaboration #FutureofWork

Innovation comes from giving teams space, some constraints, and a bit of time pressure

Author:  | CIO

The long history of business IT has been one focused on efficiency and optimisation. From the early days of computing power being used to help food manufacturers to crunch numbers, enterprise technology has been focused on automation and process improvement. The CIO has been, as one of my old bosses used to put it, “Director of Gross Margin”.

But today the game is changing. IT is upending many sectors, and even those that are structurally immune to being Ubered are seeing significant shifts in customer expectation as everyone raises their digital game. And here lies the central challenge for IT: to be able to both optimise and innovate.

In my work at the moment there appears to be one area where this transformation is starkly in relief: the world of collaboration.

Collaboration means people working together. It also means a category of software product. And IT groups need to be extremely cognisant that not only does the latter not guarantee the former, but also that teams that are able to collaborate effectively (not just efficiently) are crucial to an organisation’s ability to innovate.

You don’t innovate through optimisation of processes. You don’t, crucially, get insight from poring over masses of data – much psychological and neurological research shows that true moments of insight are most likely to be triggered when the brain isn’t thinking “logically”. Innovation, as soft and as woolly as this will sound, comes from giving teams space, some constraints, and a bit of time pressure. Good tools to support that can then help.

Think about that when you are next reviewing a business case for collaborative tools in your organisation. What’s the story? Is it one of efficiency and person hours saved? One of cost effectiveness in infrastructure? If your organisation is driving purely for efficiency, then great. But if innovation is on your agenda, collaboration itself should be seen as a crucial lever, and so effectiveness should be as big a goal (if not eclipsing) efficiency targets.


Catherine Stagg-Macey at CIO will be speaking at the Future of Work Summit, taking place on the 24th November 2015, at the Amba Marble Arch (formerly known as the Thistle Marble Arch) in London. To hear from her and 25+ fantastic thought leaders in the FoW space, make sure you register for your FREE pass here.


Speaker in the Spotlight with DeeDee Doke #FutureofWork

In conversation with…


DeeDee Doke, Editor
Recruiter /

We recently caught up with DeeDee and asked her a few questions around the future of work.

  1. What are the top 3 biggest challenges and/or opportunities you see in the FoW space?

    Challenges are: to refocus on basic human skills such as one-to-one and group communication so to best use technology and not be a slave to it; reimagining/redesigning jobs and organisational structures and operations; to align the burgeoning project work culture with a tax and benefits system; developing new ways to manage and develop workforces that operate remotely.

    Opportunities: to redefine “talent” and all of the challenges listed above!

  2. What are the main Future of Work trends you’re currently seeing from your market coverage and insight?

    A lot of “awareness-raising” going on about increasing gender diversity in certain roles and in certain career specialisms but not a lot of problem solving going on. A focus on trying to fit working parents and careers into existing kinds of roles. Some engagement in developing flexible work spaces instead of committing to long-term office leases. Much greater emphasis on creating apprenticeships. Mobility comes in different forms and varieties and has different purposes. In global mobility terms, there is an ever greater focus on talent issues within global mobility functions and on the selection of talent to mobilise and in what capacity – a standard tour of duty (two to three years), a secondment or a project which could take on a “disruptive talent” aspect.


DeeDee will be speaking at the Future of Work Summit, taking place on the 24th November 2015, at the Amba Marble Arch (formerly known as the Thistle Marble Arch) in London. To hear from him and 25+ fantastic thought leaders in the FoW space, make sure you register for your FREE pass here.


Speaker in the Spotlight with Rocco Labellarte #FutureofWork

In conversation with…


Rocco Labellarte, Head of Technology and Change Delivery
Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead Council

Rocco Labellarte is CIO and Head of Technology and Change Delivery for the Royal Borough Windsor and Maidenhead, a unitary local authority in Berkshire.

His work experience spans commercial and public sectors, at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Unilever, Calvin Klein and several local authorities. He was ranked in the top 20 UK CIOs by “Computing” in late 2014. He has delivered various models of shared service, an end-to-end hybrid cloud solution and translating digital innovation into hard business benefits.

We recently caught up with Rocco and asked him a few questions around the Future of Work. 

  1. What are the top 3 biggest challenges and/or opportunities you see in the FoW space?

    a. Simplifying how we communicate and collaborate at work. Making the tools more intelligent, optimising the time we spend in dialogue, providing more time to be productive.

    b. Re-defining the boundary inside and outside of work. Technology allows work to spill over into our non-work space. It is not about limiting where and when we work, rather, making us more effective at doing our work, in work.

    c. Developing the skills necessary to transform existing business processes and technologies into consumer-style solutions – commoditised, standardised, simple to use, reliable solutions that eliminate back office processing. End-to-end automation of business.

  2. What is/are the main FoW innovation project(s) you’re currently leading to benefit your organisation?

    We are developing a blueprint for local government organisations called “Council as a Service”. It will deliver three game-changing benefits: a transformational “all-in-one” Email, Case, Record, Document and Meeting Management collaboration solution; simplified automation of business process workflows and a 40% saving on back office case and document management systems.

  3. What are you looking to achieve by participating in the event?

    Networking, exchanging ideas, getting to see who had delivered real innovation, and what the future holds.

  4. Which specific recent FoW project/ key initiative have you led or been part of that you’re particularly proud of?

    We recently completed the first full implementation in the UK of a local government hybrid Cloud infrastructure environment, as reported in the July 2014 blog of Government Digital Services (GDS).


Rocco will be speaking at the Future of Work Summit, taking place on the 24th November 2015, at the Amba Marble Arch (formerly known as the Thistle Marble Arch) in London. To hear from him and 25+ fantastic thought leaders in the FoW space, make sure you register for your FREE pass here.


Technology Adoption – Tips and Ideas to Make it Happen #FutureEdTech

Guest Blog with Blackboard

Institutions recognise how new technology can enhance the learning and teaching experience for staff and students. Increasingly they are looking to technology to support them in achieving their strategic goals such as:

  • Improving the quality of the student experience and positively impacting student performance, satisfaction and retention
  • Responding to the rising expectations and the increasingly diverse support needs of the student population
  • Extending institutional reach and developing new markets through flexible delivery
  • Reducing administration burden on academic staff by improving efficiency and effectiveness of academic administrative processes
  • Enhancing student employability and digital literacy skills through exposure to discipline- specific software, resources and online practice

However, at Blackboard we know that there are obstacles to the adoption of technology that institutions must overcome. Change of any kind is daunting, particularly when dealing with long-established methods and systems.

That’s why we have prepared a small book that shows how to make it happen, suggesting practical tips, ideas, resources and real-life examples. We’ve built the story around six key characteristics required of a successful adoption project:

  1. Leadership from the top
  2. Institutional commitment and investment
  3. Robust and reliable infrastructure
  4. Effective and available support for academic staff
  5. Ability to demonstrate the benefits to the student and staff experience
  6. Evidence-based decision-making and a continuous cycle of improvement

Come visit us at Future Edtech 2015 to sign up for your free copy!

Or visit for more information.


Want to find out more about our views on the future of Edtech? Blackboard International’s Senior Director of Industry Management, Dr Demetra Katsifli will be taking part in the Industry Leaders Panel Discussion: Supporting Student Experience and Success in the 21st Centurylive at Future Edtech at 10am on 2nd June.



Technology – The Key to Transformational Change in HE? #FutureEdTech

Guest Blog with Tribal Group

Technology has dramatically changed our lives over the last decade. Mobile technologies are more common than ever, and interwoven into every aspect of our daily lives. They guide our decisions and instantly connect us to our social circles. Technology has clearly transformed the way we communicate and do business at a fundamental level.

A recent survey The Digital Transformation of Business conducted by Harvard Business Review Analytic Services, polled 537 executives and delivered surprising insights into the transformative effects of technology on business operations, These included how:

  • Mobile is enabling new business scenarios
  • Cloud computing is driving business agility
  • Big data is helping companies innovate
  • Social channels are transforming core business processes

The survey found that business leaders are not simply deploying the four technologies to boost efficiency or reduce costs. They are embracing these technologies to develop new business models, develop new revenue streams and to drive better customer engagement.

As technologies such as social media and mobility drive engagement across education institutions, executives are looking at ways to take advantage of the deluge of information generated by these interactions to drive better student engagement and increase operational efficiencies.

“Today, we are faced with the most radical change in distance learning, technology, and logistics since the invention of the printed book.”

Institutions embracing the change

Gartner reports 25% of CEOs expected to appoint a Chief Digital Officer (CDO) by 2017 to help drive their growth objectives and drive digital strategies. What’s more, 20% of large enterprises had already appointed a data officer to lead their digital strategies by 2014. Deakin University’s new Chief Digital Officer William Confalonieri is working closely with Tribal to optimise its Student Management Systems, including SITS and Enterprise Service Desk, to drive new innovations in student service, student engagement and operational efficiency. Williams’ role is to help the university capitalise on the risks and rewards of the digital economy using a blend of business strategies and technologies to achieve this goal.

Working with the University of Wolverhampton, Tribal has delivered a proven analytics model capable of predicting student success to within 70%. This new product, Student Insight ,is self-learning and has enabled the University of Wolverhampton to reduce student attrition, while driving improved student engagement and will ultimately lead to increased student satisfaction.

These are just two examples of how Tribal is working proactively with our customers to deliver new technologies and innovations to support their digital initiatives and drive greater efficiencies.

Delivering new technologies and innovations to support our customers’ digital initiatives

As a company responsible for delivering systems to support the future needs of our education customers, we see our research and development investment as critical to enable our customers to differentiate their services and lead in what has become a very complex and challenging environment. Whether it’s developing new technologies that deliver predicative analytics to identify students at risk and understand the interactions between an institution and its customers (the student), or investing in existing products to enable anytime, anywhere access via our mobility strategy, we work hard to add tremendous value to our customers.

In addition to our technologies, we have also evolved our service offer to deliver new possibilities such as our Business Transformation Service. This innovative programme leverages our experience of over 150 implementations worldwide and the thought leadership gained from working with these customers to deliver change management and consulting in the delivery of new business models that take advantage of the new digital economy, enabling customers to realise their optimal operating models.


Want to find out more about our views on the future of Edtech? Managing Director, Market Development Jon Baldwin will be taking part in the Industry Leaders Panel Discussion:Supporting Student Experience and Success in the 21st Centurylive at Future Edtech at 10am on 2nd June.




What is Adaptive Learning? #FutureEdTech

Guest Blog with Brightspace by D2L

Adaptive learning
has become one of the most talked about technologies in education. Gartner Canada Inc. recently named adaptive learning as the number one strategic technology to impact education in 2015. With this anticipation brings different perceptions—and even some confusion—about what adaptive learning is and its role in shaping teaching and learning.

This post is the first in a series dedicated to adaptive learning. First up, let’s establish exactly what it means.


”Adaptivity” is the “adjustment of one or more characteristics of the learning environment.” These adaptive actions take place in three different areas:

  1. Appearance/Form: How the learning actions—such as content, the addition of text, graphics, and/or video, etc.—are displayed to the learner. Most of today’s adaptive platforms call this “content consumption” and expect knowledge to be obtained by simply reading the content.
  2. Order/Sequence: How the learning actions are ordered and branched depending on the learning progress, such as pathways.
  3. Guidance towards Goal/Mastery: Actions of the system that lead a learner towards success. This allows for changes according to the most optimal learning outcomes, level of difficulty, and the learner’s increasing knowledge or skill level.

The value is different for everyone

The whole idea of “personalized learning”—and by extension, adaptive learning—is to help meet the needs of each student’s learning process. However, students still rely heavily on their instructor’s feedback and guidance to confirm that they’ve met the requirements.

With growing classroom sizes, this can be difficult to scale. That’s where technology can help.

The adaptive technology landscape today

In our survey of the adaptive technology landscape, we found that there are many solutions focused on adjusting learner pathways. These may be different pathways students can take within a learning environment. They are typically organized as pre-set categories and applied in a rules-based method with a decision tree. Students might take a test on the first day that will be used to create their individual path and content.

Adapting to a learner’s style and pace is another frequently applied model. While its value remains largely unproven, many adaptive platforms highlight its benefits. Most recent adaptive technology is data-driven and captures ongoing data from students’ actions. These systems use their results, creating learning actions and pathways that change and improve over time for each student.

The real opportunity can be found in taking the results of students who have completed adapted online courses and feeding those back into the system. This makes pathway learning transferable. What helped a student on the far side of the world can become valuable to a student next door.

Our view: it’s about exploration

At its core, adaptive learning allows students to select the steps or pathways they want to pursue rather than having it dictated to them. Effective technology can assemble and adapt the whole learning management system, not just a single piece of content at a time.

Join Brightspace by D2L at Future EdTech 2015. They’ll be speaking on ‘Leveraging technology to support student retention‘ at 14.00-14.30 on the 2nd June.



How do we change the culture of higher education to support and enable true transformation? #FutureEdTech

Guest Blog with Oracle

oracleIt’s certainly no secret that higher education globally is under going significant change. While it’s always difficult to have clear perspective when one is in the middle of a shift or period of dynamism, I believe this change is more profound than any we’ve seen in our lifetimes as higher education professionals, but I will also say that the change yet to come in the next 5-10 years is likely to be even more significant. Technology is underpinning a lot of these changes, but questions of culture, tradition, and historical precedent are being considered alongside discussions of the overall cost of education, the “return on investment,” student experience, and what truly defines “institutional excellence,” all questions that we hope to address at some stage during our upcoming participation in the Ovum Future EdTech conference in London.

All of us have been exposed to extremist predictions of massive reductions in the number of higher education institutions as a result of financial pressures and declining enrollment; the advent of MOOC’s (massive open online courses) and their purported ability to essentially replace the traditional model of delivering education content; the rapid ascent (and subsequent decline) of certain for-profit models of education; and in technology circles how everything “cloud” will allegedly solve all of our problems, financial as well as technical, and “solve world hunger” at the same time.

But lost in a lot of this hyperbole are a number of nuggets of positive change that have come from some of the forces I’ve just outlined. We’ve seen significant improvements in the delivery of education content through flipped classrooms and blended learning environments. MOOC’s haven’t replaced the traditional models of delivering education but they have had a positive influence on how students can be more effectively engaged and can learn at their own pace, while advances in technology have made on-line learning very interactive and engaging versus the passive models of the past.

In the “back office” of higher education, there has been significant pressure to drive operational efficiencies because of the draw-down over the past decade in public funding support for education, and as a result, albeit slowly, higher education has begun to adopt modern and more standard business processes in areas where bespoke process does not contribute significantly to the overall mission of teaching, learning and research. Furthermore because of the increased expectations around the “return on investment” in education, since more and more of the cost is being shouldered by the student and parent, more focus and emphasis is being placed on the overall student experience.

oracle2Underpinning all of this is a statistic I’d like to cite that comes from a survey conducted in the US annually by Casey Green of the Campus Computing Project that points to executive leadership (Vice Chancellors, Presidents, Provosts, etc.) of most institutions being significantly less sanguine about the effectiveness of IT investments in advancing the overall mission of the institutions versus their IT staff. In some cases this gap is as large as 20% in terms of those that rate these investments as “very effective” versus those that do not. This either speaks to unrealistic expectations, a failure to effectively communicate, or some other issue that perhaps we can explore during the upcoming Ovum Future EdTech conference.

One topic that I hope to address when I speak to the conference attendees during our session “Cloud Forecast: For Once A Very Promising Outlook” surrounds the larger general conversation in the higher education (and indeed across the entire education) sector that is quite prevalent: the general recognition that higher education is in need of significant change (transformation) – such as how education is delivered, how classrooms are organised, how information technology is leveraged, delivered, consumed, etc.  but it always comes back to how do we change the culture of higher education to support or enable true transformation – new ways of thinking, new business models and revenue sources, non-traditional programmes, competency based education models, mostly on-line programmes, etc.  – I hope to offer some ideas on the aforementioned points, and of course discuss how this cultural change is needed in order to extract maximum value from technology investments in the coming years.

For more information, please visit:
Oracle in Higher Education
Oracle Higher Education Cloud – Modern Campus. Modern Platform. 

The Author:
Cole Clark
Global Vice President, Education and Research, Oracle


Oracle is our Mission Critical Sponsor at Future EdTech, taking place on the 2nd – 3rd June 2015 at Millenium Gloucester Hotel in London – the first and only event in Europe enabling transformational change and innovation in higher education via technology.

Join Cole Clark, Global Vice President, Education & Research at Oracle, for his session Cloud Forecast: For Once A Very Promising Outlook at 9:40am, Wednesday, 3rd June. Please also visit the exhibition stand to find out more.



Cloud solutions for the modern campus #futureedtech

Seize the initiative – transform your campus

Supporting new business models, recruiting top talent, architecting more efficient business processes, and delivering personalised student experiences are top-of-mind-issues for campus leaders everywhere. And with competition heating up, colleges and universities are under tremendous pressure to transform their campuses to meet the demands of modern students, faculty, and staff.

To address these challenges, campus leaders are looking to innovate with cloud technologies that help them modernise their systems and processes and transform to a Modern Campus.

The Oracle Higher Education Cloud for the Modern Campus

Provides a solution, enabling institutions to:whitepaper

  • Target Omni-channel outreach and engagement to personalise every student’s journey
  • Find, recruit, develop, and retain top faculty and staff
  • Simplify processes, standardise systems, and prudently steward resources
  • Identify at-risk students and intervene in time to keep them on track
  • Promote a data-driven culture
  • Increase transparency and improve traceability


About Oracle

Oracle are proud to be the Mission Critical Sponsor of the Future Edtech Conference and Exhibition taking place at the Millennium Gloucester Hotel in London, 2 – 3 June 2015 – the first and only event in Europe enabling transformational change and innovation in higher education via technology.

Join Cole Clark, Global Vice President, Education & Research at Oracle, for his session Cloud Forecast: For Once A Very Promising Outlook at 9:40am, Wednesday, 3rd June. Please also visit the exhibition stand to find out more.